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Ugly, Scarred Apples Taste Better Than Perfect Ones, So What’s With All The Food Waste?

Thursday, January 12, 2017 9:10
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by Brianna Acuesta, True Activist

They’re healthier and taste better, what’s not to love?

Pretty much everyone who buys fruit at a market, be it a farmer’s market or the local supermarket, is privy to searching for the perfect-looking produce and leaving behind the fruits and vegetables with marks or holes in them. But what if it turns out that the uglier the fruit, the better it tastes?

Eliza Greenman, an orchardist and consultant for growing fruits, runs an apple farm and describes herself as “obsessed” with growing fruit trees for the past decade. After she started studying the ways that fruits are produced to be perfect, she started to question the status quo and started a blog to publish her findings.

“I’m absolutely infatuated with the idea of stress in an orchard,” Greenman told NPR. “I believe stress can help create a super fruit.”

Her obsession began when she decided to embark on an unofficial experiment to stress the apples and determine what their taste and nutritional value were afterwards. She tested the contents of scabbed and unscabbed Parma apples, a variety native to southwestern Virginia, and found that the scabbed apples had 2 to 5 percent high sugar content than its ‘perfect’ counterparts. Since Greenman grows pesticide-free hard cider apples, the sugar content is extremely important in making the cider tastier. She added that these imperfect apples also more nutritious and higher antioxidant content, ultimately creating a super fruit.

Which kind of apples consumers prefer wouldn’t be such a huge problem if it didn’t contribute to the huge amount of avoidable food wasted everyday because of these standards. In apples alone, 4.5 million are thrown away every single day and approximately enough food in general is wasted everyday to fill up 44 skyscrapers. 

The trends are starting to shift in the favor of marred fruits and vegetables, however, in part thanks to the growing trend of buying organic. Since organic produce tends to look a bit rougher than produce ‘protected’ by pesticides, more people are becoming accustomed to buying marred produce instead. Whole Foods began selling cosmetically marred but nutritious produce for the first time in California and was met with success.

Greenman’s observations are backed up by studies on the subject, which found that an apple with a scab had more healthy, antioxidant phenolic compounds than a scab-free apple peel. The orchard-enthusiast and blogger may be onto something and could be the leader in a growing army of people switching to choosing marred produce.

While this isn’t a call to necessarily go organic, it is an urging to reevaluate the way you view and choose all produce. Before you skip over the ‘ugly’ apples in the store, consider that it’s probably the healthier and tastier option when compared to the perfectly engineered apples.

This article (Ugly, Scarred Apples Taste Better Than Perfect Ones, So What’s With All The Food Waste?) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and



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